For anyone not working with blogs and web content daily, SEO can be challenging to understand. Even experts constantly need refreshers on the topic, as the digital landscape rapidly changes. However, it’s imperative to keep have a strong and updated strategy to bring visitors to your site and direct them towards your sales funnel. Here are 8 Google SEO mistakes to avoid this year:
1.Choosing the Wrong Keywords
SEO is tricky, especially when it comes to choosing keywords and placing them within your content. Thankfully, there are tools to use to assist with this. Google’s Keyword Planner is a free and simple tool that provides an overview of search volumes and trends. You can use it to gauge how keywords rank within the search and adjust your use of them based on that information. Check out this article by Backlinko to learn how to get started.
2. Not Asking for Feedback
When was the last time you went to a store and you weren’t given a survey link? Every business is eager to get feedback from its customers, and the same applies to the web. Having more reviews online can boost your SEO. Google My Business listings dominate search results when looking up local businesses, distracting from organic results. Wondering how to get your company set up and ranking? Here’s a step by step guide.
These reviews are essentially just a collection of users backing your business’s credibility by recalling their experience. This helps search engines to understand that your company has a positive reputation, making their job easier as they ‘recommend’ businesses with a consistent rating.
3. Not Knowing What Quick Answers Are
Quick answers are a wonderful and new innovation on Google. What are they? Simply type a query into the search engine to find out. If you type “What is a Google Quick Answer?” in, the first result is a box rather than a usual listing. The answer that comes up is an excerpt from an article from Brightedge:
In September 2014 Google introduced a new method of presenting content relevant to “how to…” or “what is…” queries, where Google takes snippets of content from specific web pages and features it in the “Quick Answers” box just above the 1st organic result in SERP and just below paid listings.
A quick answer aims to quickly answer the question entered in the search bar. To become the quick answer result, think about your user’s experience on the page. Would they understand exactly what your business does, the moment they access your homepage? Would they understand the connection between all content posted on your site and your company’s purpose? The key is to simplistically yet effectively answer a question, so if you can answer “yes” to both questions, then you’re on your way to having a quick answer-worthy site.
4. Creating Content Just to Have Content
Low quality or duplicated content hurts your SEO ranking. If you’re creating content that is not about your specific keywords, you’re also hurting your SEO. Stop the madness by only posting relevant, original content.
Non-original content is a common mistake, but thankfully, it’s also an easy fix. Instead of copying content from others or using software that makes the old content seem fresh, it’s worth investing in your own, meaningful copy. This will prevent your ranking from being pushed further down in search results.
5. Skipping Title Tags & Meta Descriptions
Title tags and meta descriptions are essential parts of your website. They should include keywords to helps search engines understand what each page is about and index your web pages accordingly for relevant keywords or keyword phrases.
The title tag defines the title of the web page. Title tags are shown on search results pages as the clickable headline for a given result and are important for usability, SEO, and social networks.
Here’s an example:
If your title is lengthy, search engines may cut it off and end up omitting important words. Keep in mind that certain letters take up more or less space, so there isn’t an exact character limit. You should also avoid titles that repeat variations of the same keyword over and over. The HTML suggestions page in Google Webmaster Tools lists missing or potentially problematic title tags.
Meta descriptions provide concise summaries of web pages beneath the title tags and URL of a search result. For example, Abstrakt’s meta description here reads, “Abstrakt is an award-winning, St. Louis-based…”
A page’s meta description should be written in an active voice and encourage the searcher to want to click it. It should be directly relevant to the page it describes and unique from the descriptions of other pages. Meta descriptions can impact a page’s click-through-rate on Google which can impact a page’s rank, so it’s important to put effort into creating them.
6. Focusing on Link Quantity Over Link Quality
While there are lots of easy ways to get a high volume of links, you should usually place a higher emphasis on quality.
One link from a popular blog might do more for your search engine rankings than hundreds or even thousands of low-quality directory links. Yes, they’re harder to get, but that’s also why search engines place such trust in them. They are a more reliable measure of the quality of your website.
7. Incorporating too many PDFs.
PDFs are a great way to provide users with information that can be easily downloaded, but unfortunately, websites don’t track PDF views in Google Analytics. PDFs are usually on a separate URL, anyone who visits the PDF doesn’t end up clicking on the menu bar or visiting the homepage. This lack of crawling can make it difficult to see if that content is having an impact on users.
However, there’s still hope – PDFs just takes a bit more effort. For starters, including keywords in the file name is important to make the content user-friendly and search-friendly. Text-based PDFs are easier for search engines to understand than image-based ones, and this is especially important when it comes to headings. Lastly, keep the file size low and loading time short in order to make the user experience as pleasant as possible.
8. Not Keeping Up to Date with Search Engine Updates
Like most things nowadays, SEO is constantly changing. Sometimes it can seem difficult to keep up, especially if you don’t realize changes are even happening. Google Webmaster Youtube Channel is a great tool to stay up to date. John Mueller speaks in each video, answering questions and explaining topics of Google search.
Another tool is Google’s Search Console, which can be installed on your website for free. It provides data on your website’s existing presence with Google and highlights any significant issues that could prevent your site from ranking well.
Search engine optimization is an indispensable part of any content marketing strategy, but it’s still easy to make mistakes. It’s important to remember that at the end of the day, Google likes organized, easily accessible data. Keep this, along with your searcher and visitor experiences, in mind when executing your SEO plan. For further information, check out Abstrakt’s organic and local SEO services!